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The diversification of life involved enormous increases in size and complexity. The evolutionary transitions from prokaryotes to unicellular eukaryotes to metazoans were accompanied by major innovations in metabolic design. Here we show that the scalings of metabolic rate, population growth rate, and production efficiency with body size have changed across(More)
The extinction of dinosaurs at the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary was the seminal event that opened the door for the subsequent diversification of terrestrial mammals. Our compilation of maximum body size at the ordinal level by sub-epoch shows a near-exponential increase after the K/Pg. On each continent, the maximum size of mammals leveled off after(More)
Surface areas and volumes of biological systems-from molecules to organelles, cells, and organisms-affect their biological rates and kinetics. Therefore, surface area-to-volume ratios and the scaling of surface area with volume profoundly influence ecology, physiology, and evolution. The zeroth-order geometric expectation is that surface area scales with(More)
Microbial communities in extreme environments often have low diversity and specialized physiologies suggesting a limited resistance to change. The McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) are a microbially dominated, extreme ecosystem currently undergoing climate change-induced disturbances, including the melting of massive buried ice, cutting through of permafrost by(More)
The rising sea level at the end of the Pleistocene that created the islands of the Sunda Shelf in Indonesia and Malaysia provides a natural experiment in community disassembly and offers insights into the effects of body size and niches on abundance, distribution, and diversity. Since isolation, terrestrial mammal communities of these islands have been(More)
The causes of biodiversity patterns are controversial and elusive due to complex environmental variation, covarying changes in communities, and lack of baseline and null theories to differentiate straightforward causes from more complex mechanisms. To address these limitations, we developed general diversity theory integrating metabolic principles with(More)
How fast can a mammal evolve from the size of a mouse to the size of an elephant? Achieving such a large transformation calls for major biological reorganization. Thus, the speed at which this occurs has important implications for extensive faunal changes, including adaptive radiations and recovery from mass extinctions. To quantify the pace of large-scale(More)
• Patterns of precipitation are likely to change significantly in the coming century, with important but poorly understood consequences for plant communities. Experimental and correlative studies may provide insight into expected changes, but little research has addressed the degree of concordance between these approaches. • We synthesized results from four(More)
SFI Working Papers contain accounts of scienti5ic work of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Santa Fe Institute. We accept papers intended for publication in peer-­‐reviewed journals or proceedings volumes, but not papers that have already appeared in print. Except for papers by our external faculty, papers must be based on work(More)